High streets in the ITV Meridian region are to receive a cash boost as part of a £95million government investment.
In Kent, Ramsgate and Chatham will benefit, as will Hastings in East Sussex. Moving to Hampshire where Gosport joins Ryde and Newport on the Isle of Wight, Reading in Berkshire and Dorset's Poole as among those selected to receive funding.
Nationwide 69 high streets are set to be revitalised.
This is the biggest ever single investment by Government in the UK’s built heritage.
Projects across the country will transform disused historic buildings into shops, houses and community centres.
Funding will help traditional businesses adapt to better compete with online outlets.
Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan announced the locations set to benefit earlier.
Increasing competition from online outlets is putting high streets across the country under growing pressure. As part of the Government’s drive to help high streets adapt to changing consumer habits, the £95 million funding will aim to breathe new life into historic buildings and areas in our towns and cities.
The initiative will be funded by combining £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund with £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund. £3 million will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme to engage people in the life and history of their high streets.
The investment builds on the Heritage Action Zones programme, run by Historic England, and will turn empty and underused buildings into creative spaces, offices, retail outlets and housing to support wider regeneration in the 69 successful areas by attracting future commercial investment.
The funding will be used for a variety of projects, including:
To complete essential repair works in historic buildings and reveal hidden and forgotten features of buildings by restoring shop-fronts and facades.
Stimulate commercial investment in high streets by demonstrating how historic sites can be successfully repurposed.
Develop education projects and bespoke events to help reposition historic buildings as community hubs at the heart of local towns and villages.
Help address the UK wide skills shortage of heritage professionals in expert fields like stonemasonry and conservation by providing local property owners, residents and businesses with the opportunity to train in these areas.